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Government-funded anti-smoking quangos funded by other government-funded quangos – agree with the Government – SHOCK!

By Angela Harbutt
March 24th, 2010 at 12:45 pm | 6 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

Here we are knee deep in debt and all I see is a lot of government money – money we cant afford – being spent to shore up Government plans for more interference. Well this is just too rich for me..

And its not as though the money was spent on research, attributed to the Government. Oh no that would be too straightforward. No this bit of political manoeuvring is just about as devious as any I have seen in a while.

Widely credited as “a report from the Royal College of Physicians”, a document was released today concluding  that the  “acceptability” of smoking must be changed (don’t you just cringe when that kind of language is used ?) and  that .. the easiest way to do this is a blanket ban in cars and vans, parks and play areas.

Naturally the media pounce on this explosive news. The illustrious Royal College bestow their views and we must all jump. We have to “save the kids” after all.

But look beyond the headlines and what you see is Government sponsored documentation that states X (a lot of kids suffer from asthma) and concludes that something completely disproportinate and over the top MUST be done … a blanket ban on smoking in cars and vans – not just those carrying children you note – and a ban on smoking in open spaces such as parks.

Er? How did they make that leap ?

The answer is fairly clear…. The government has already stated that it is  “looking at ways to go further to reduce the 9,500 children admitted to hospital every year as a direct result of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke“.  Andy Burnham, Health Secretary has also confirmed his  “commitment to virtually eradicate the health harms caused by smoking..(and).. halve smoking by 2020″ 

So now the Royal College of Physicians is concluding that banning smoking in cars, vans and open spaces is the way to go. Surprised? Don’t be.

Look at who has funded this piece of research. Cancer Research UK and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS). What is the UKCTCS you may ask. A group of universities that develop ways to reduce numbers smoking. Aah but who funds the UKCTSC? Well, primarily this seems to be the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)  which is in turn primarily funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and MRC (Medical Research Council  a tax-payer funded organisation dedicated “to improving human health”) …You see where I am going with this ? You cant move more than an inch in any direction and this report from the Royal College of Physicians has Government money oozing from every orifice.

And who is one of the primary authors quoted ? Martin Dockrell, director of policy at the vocal anti-smoking group ASH (funded by the Department of  Health no less) . Dockerall, by ASH’ own admission, “specialises in using research data to make the case for policy reform”. If that doesn’t send alarm bells ringing out about the intention and validity of this “report” then I don’t know what does.

And lets not ignore the fact that the real agenda here is to “eradicate” smoking (as Mr Burnham has stated). John Britton leads the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (and who sits on the board of trustees of ASH) and is the principle author of this report who has gone on record stating…. “This report isn’t just about protecting children from passive smoking, it’s about taking smoking completely out of children’s lives. Adults need to think about who’s seeing them smoke.” 

Well they should have thought about that before they banned smoking in the one place where kids would not see smoking – in the pubs!

And if you want further evidence – Britton’s explanation for why there should be a blanket ban on smoking in vehicles – should suffice… “even drivers who never had child passengers should get out of their cars before lighting up for reasons of road safety” Hmmm road safety expert as well are we? I can’t actually find his credentials to speak on road safety but I am sure they are there – somewhere.

So what we have here is Government-funded anti-smoking quango’s working with other Government anti-smoking quango’s,  being funded by other Government quango’s all agreeing with Government published aims. Anyone here really expecting all those institutions, relying on Government cash, to conclude anything else?

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